My friend, Jeff Aragaki, of Aracom Amps, and a fellow lover and collector of Les Pauls – way more so that myself – sent me an email about a kind of Les Paul that he had never heard of, the Les Paul Elegant.
This is a Custom Shop guitar that didn’t have a very long production run, and was apparently the first of Gibson’s chambered LP’s. Most all have some sort of flame top, and from what I could find out weigh in the 8-9 pound range.
Owners have said it has a bit deeper of a tone than a pure solid-body LP, and the chambering pattern is completely different than the ones used in the Standards. Comes stock with 57 Classic pickups which help balance out the deeper tone of the guitar.
Furthermore, the fretboard has a compound radius cut: round to flatter from nut to heel. My 59 replica has that kind of tapering and it makes it VERY easy to play. OMG! I’d love to play one of these. Anyway, after a little digging, I found a thread on the “My Les Paul” forum that sums up the guitar very well:
The Les Paul Elegant is features great looks and tone. The body is made from mahogany with a triple-A grade maple top. There are open cavities in the body to reduce its weight while at the same time increasing its resonance. They are called dynamic chambers and help to increase the guitar’s interaction with the amp. This is similar to a certain degree with what happens with semi-hollow or hollow body guitars but at a much subtler level. The maple top with its transparent finishes gives a deep glow as well as the highly figured wood grain. You’ll find white-black multi-ply binding on the top and bottom of the body. The bridge is a classic Tune-O-Matic O-matic with a stopbar tailpiece.
The 24.7 5 inch scale length neck is made from a single piece of mahogany. It has an ebony fretboard with 22 frets with white binding around the neck. The binding also matches the pickup covers and 3-way pickup selector label. One interesting thing about this guitar is its compound radius fretboard. The fretboard at the first fret is flatter and gradually becomes rounder as you get towards the 12th fret. This allows for easier access to the upper registers while lead playing at the same time leaving the lower registers more adapted to chordal playing. The neck also has a long tenon to increase its connection to the body. The trapezoidal inlays are made of abalone and add a bit of ‘elegance’ to the already great looking guitar.
The pickups and electronics are all Gibson. It has the traditional two volume and two tone controls (one for each pickup) with a 3-way pickup selector wired: neck, neck+bridge, bridge. The pickups themselves have that great vintage sound. They are the ’57 Classic humbuckers which are replicas of the PAF (Patent Applied For) pickups found on the late 50’s Gibsons. The ’57 classic has a full rich and has enough to give it plenty of crunch. These pickups have Alnico II magnets and use vintage style enamel coated wire. The covers like the rest of the guitar’s hardware is nickel plated (chrome) for years of wear.
* single piece mahogany back
* Carved figured maple top
* single-piece mahogany neck
* Cream binding on body and neck
* Nickel hardware
* Tune-O-Matic o-matic bridge
* ’57 Classic humbuckers
* Two volume knobs
* Two tone knobs
* Three-way selector switch
* abalone trapezoid inlays
* Dynamic chambers in body
The only wrong information is that they got the direction of the radius on the fretboard wrong. This sounds like a nice guitar!
Other people have called this guitar the pre-Supreme. Older version of this guitar sported the Custom Shop logo, whereas later versions just had the “Les Paul” scroll. Wow! Talk about GAS attack!!!